Thursday, November 10, 2011

Around Here These Days

Fall is certainly here. The nights are often in the 20s, my garden is full-on dead (but, for once, I've actually yanked a few plants and tossed them over the fence), and we use the pellet stove in the daytime (when we can get it started).

The girls are all healthy. I spent a week in October terribly sick - fever and aches were the only symptoms, but it kept me off my feet for a full week. THAT was not good for the housekeeping, let me tell you. And we ran out of bananas and eggs more than once (this whole-foods living doesn't leave much for kids to fend for themselves!). I did deign to take ibuprofen when my fever rose above 104˙, messing up lo, these many years. :)

We continue to homeschool with Ambleside Online, however, the week I was ill certainly revealed that apparently *I* am the only person who does anything around here and/or *I* am the only person who makes anyone do anything around here. These are not good dynamics. :( I do not know the answer yet, but I am praying about it, and debating on whether academics need to take a hiatus temporarily to give Real Life Skills some focus. For me, too.

The 20 pullets we raised this summer turned out to be 17 pullets and 3 roosters (I'm still wondering if I can get a refund on the pullet price I paid...), and one pullet succumbed to a Great Horned Owl. I'm sure it's no coincidence that the Devil has horns too... Anyway, the old hens are molting and taking their annual sabbatical from laying, and the new pullets have given us 2 or 3 eggs total, but production certainly isn't keeping up with our needs, so i've been having to buy eggs. Usually from an unmanned roadside cooler, sometimes from the grocer, and WOW am I reminded how blessed we are to have free-ranging hens. The product isn't even comparable to the store's.

We now officially have 3 jersey steers. We waited a long time to take care of Chuck (about a week and a half ago; nearly 6 months old) because of his Special Needs. I feed them every day now, and scratch my head and wonder if I'm feeding them enough/too much, too frequently/too rarely and the rest of it. I am fairly secure in my belief that Mae is pregnant; we boarded about a dozen ugly Angus-type cattle in September/October, and among them were 2 young bulls. There was no sign that Mae came into heat, so she probably settled after spending 6 weeks with a Highland bull before we got her. :) She is now quite tame, inasmuch as she comes near for her feed and will tolerate being touched through the fence or gate. The other day she was mooing at me near the garden, so I agreed to give her some hay (which is 100 yards or more from where I was. I walked along the fence and sang, "c'mon Mae!" and began running.. She tossed her big horns and galavanted alongside me up to the area where the hay is. I eased up before we got there, because I realized that she could toss herself right through the fence and never notice, were she inclined... :]

I 'wormed' the cattle using Shaklee's Basic H, of which I had to buy 5 gallons for over $200, because of course they've updated to Basic H2 and there hasn't been 50 years of experience to vouch for its safety or effectiveness at this application (of which Shaklee doesn't endorse). I expect I'll never have to buy from them again, considering the rates of application. :)

Hubby's work has eased up - still full time, but no on-call weekends and few after-hours projects (um, unless you count the projects *I* request...). We have been avoiding wheat for the most part, and are trying to limit the grains we eat as well. We eat potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash more often instead.

Lately I've been reading:
Rodale's Complete Book of Composting
You Can Farm
Salad Bar Beef
Wheat Belly
Folks, This Ain't Normal

Planning to Borrow (from the Library):
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
Fast Food Nation
Omnivore's Dilemma

And wishing for:
Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live off the Land
An Agricultural Testament
Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind


mary grace said...

I just had to comment when I saw the part about you being sick and nothing getting done. :-) If I remember correctly, your oldest is 9, right? From where I sit right now--in this comfy place with my oldest at home being 14 and fully capable of running the entire household on a day when I can't manage--I have to admit that at 9, I could have *directed* her through some of the motions of doing things, but she certainly couldn't/wouldn't have handled it on her own. As a matter of fact, it was a situation when I *was* sick that prompted me to start filling in the blanks for her. Hey, this is how you cook XYZ. This is the best way to get the baby down for a nap. This is how I do this, etc., etc., etc. I may have been a little late on starting the overall "Here, take the reins" training, but I was thorough ... and it has been an amazing blessing to us all. As a matter of fact, Jo looks at girls her age who are flabbergasted at small homemaking details and shrugs. She's forgotten what it was like to be at my sole mercy to wash her clothes. LOL So go for it. Girls as good as yours at processing chickens will have it down in no time!

EllaJac said...

Oh Mary Grace, I take great encouragement at this! There are days where I'm greatly blessed at how much my oldest knows/does (she's 10 now, as of september) -- especially compared to ME at that age -- and other days where I just don't know where to start.. :] I appreciate your comment greatly.

I'm praying for your family, the visa thing, and rejoicing at the great strides Atticus has taken in conquering fear. What a testimony. :)